Then check out the book itself. Highly recommended.
Then check out the book itself. Highly recommended.
Please join me for a poetry reading from Garden of Rain this Saturday, August 13 at 6:30 PM at Ahh, Coffee in Annapolis, MD. For more information and directions, go to my events page.
I was sitting in the food court in one of the largest outlet malls in the country doing one of my favorite things: watching people go by. I was waiting for my family who were doing what most people do when they go to a mall: shopping, looking at things they want but don’t need, eyeing goods supposedly on sale, an old trick to get people to buy, a trick no one ever seems to see through.
For my part, I was enjoying the panoply of American culture that paraded through this large, jam-packed space. Shades of America strutting along, dressed in all styles, dressed for all occasions. There were blacks and whites, Arabs, Indians, Asians, Hispanics: a wide range of humanity concentrated right here in this common room. There were Muslims among them, as there were Christians, and, I assume, Buddhists and Hindus and a sampling of other religions. There were families and couples and individuals, perhaps alone, perhaps, like me, waiting for their loved ones. Some were mixed: black and white, black and Asian, white and Asian, etc. And some were homogeneous. And through it all, I heard strands of English — standard, broken, black English and even a southern drawl. As there was dialects –Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Vietnamese and what I assumed were languages from Eastern Europe and Russia.
All here in this room. All passing by each other, politely asking if a seat at the table was available. All co-existing, perhaps oblivious, or, at least, tolerant of one another.
And then I thought of Trump, that strumpet of a “politician” if ever there was one. And I thought: if he were to get elected, if his rhetoric of deporting “Mexicans” (I doubt he could tell a Mexican from a Peruvian from an Arab or even from me, an Italian), of banning Muslims – an entire religion (would he know a Muslim from a Sikh from a Hindu from a Baha’i?) – if he did what he said, what would become of this food court? At least three-quarters of the faces I saw would be gone. Wiped out. What would he do to blacks? Would his facade of law and order wreak havoc on that already fragile community? Imagine, black people being rounded up because, in the words of one policeman, “they are violent.” And then imagine: camps for Muslims. Holding tanks for immigrants before they are deported. Camp Mohammad or Camp Jose. You choose the name.
This is a repetition of what has gone down before. This is a broken record in the history of America that keeps skipping back. Rounding up Native Americans and putting them on “reservations.” Putting Japanese Americans in camps. Whitewashing the language of anything outwardly Germanic (hot dog or frankfurter, your choice). These are realities that have already happened. This is the “new,” dangerous reality that is now upon us.
And so I thought: if three-quarters of everyone in this room were suddenly gone, what would happen to this food court? To this mall? To all the malls across America? They would fall empty and silent. An eerie quiet would settle — so quiet, let me tell you — because the shops and restaurants would have to close for lack of business. A great way to create jobs, Mr. Trump!
And so I ask you as you read this to not just “like” it. Share it. Share it with all you know. Share it with the closet Trumpians you suspect are you neighbors, the ones who won’t admit it, the ones who, unlike in the past, do not put yard signs in front of their homes. And ask them: is this the America you want to render with your vote? Do you really want to shut down the mall of America?
And then offer them a bottle of bleach. Ask them to open it and spill it on their most expensive garment. Their lavish evening dress. That suit they just purchased at that bargain boutique. What would become of it? Would the color fade? Would the material be ruined? Would they wear it to their next soirée? Business meeting? Or on a date with that special person they’ve been courting for so long?
I don’t want my best suit being ruined by bleach! I don’t want my flag – the red, white and blue I have cherished since my childhood, the flag I have defended in protest after protest – to be discolored. So ask them: what happens to that flag when Trump’s toxic bleach stains that most enduring of fabrics?
Joanna Howard, poet extraordinaire and technology editor of Potomac Review, will be this month’s editor of Truck, an on-line journal that presents a poem a day and features a new editor each month. Joanna will be presenting poems by such Washington DC luminaries as Grace Cavalieri, Ethelbert Miller, Francisco Arragon, Judy McCombs, Marianne Szlyk, Richard Peabody, Kim Robert and Sarah Browning. One of my poems will also be presented.
Check out Truck each day for your daily dose of poetry.
Here’s a link to a new review of The Vivisection Mambo, an anthology in which I am incluoded.
The Poetry Society of Virginia presents its 2016 Annual Poetry Festival in Richmond, VA on May 20 and 21. The festival includes readings and workshops by Robert P. Arthur, the current president of the Poetry Society of Virginia, Kyle Dargan, Creative Writing Director at American University in Washington DC, Greg Donovan, senior editor at Blackbird, Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda, Poet Laureate of Virginia (2006 – 2008) and many others.
For more information, go to http://poetrysocietyofvirginia.org/event/poetry-society-festival/
Dennis Price’s “Arborpolitics” has been voted the favorite poem in the 30 for 30 series that ran this April. Congratulations Dennis!
Dennis will receive a signed copy of The Wizard and the White House (Little Feather Books, 2014).
Thanks to all the poets who participated in the 2016 30 for 30 project.
April is gone and, with it, the 30 for 30 poetry event. It’s now time to vote for your favorite poem.
If you have not had a chance to read the poems posted during April, please take some time to do so. We had some very fine poems this year from some very find poets, so read through them, choose one and vote for it by going to www.mikemaggio.net. The poll will be on the right side of the main web page. The poet whose poem gets the most votes will get a signed copy of my novel, The Wizard and the White House. The poll will be open until May 6th. And please note: you may only vote once.
So spread the word. And thanks to all the poets who participated this year and to those individuals who shared their comments.
Tonight’s dinner at Chuck-E-Cheese’s is a mad medley of color and cacophony. We enter with a child and get our wrists stamped with a snail tattoo. We order our pizzas and drinks while the little girl goes to explore the rides with her mother.
I sit as far as possible from the scintillating lights, the creak of the undulating yellow car, the groan of a merry- go- round ,the screech of mechanical animals ,the jingle jangle 3-D video games which remind me of the slot machines, in Las Vegas.
Bug eyed children, rush from game to game where they catch apples in a basket ,crawl through a tunnel, slide, ride, jiggle joy sticks, to go through virtual reality worlds peopled with ogres, demons and dragons while their bedraggled and disoriented parents follow.
We share the Play Doughy pizza ,soggy French fries and a mixed fruit punch which tastes of plastic. Now it is time to redeem her fifty six coupons, for which she gets a small dark blue plastic dinosaur and a red balloon.
I think of the last time I had been to a Chuck-E-Cheese’s, almost twenty years ago with our son and his friend ,both nine years old. Back then the bedlam didn’t seem so bad. I tell the parents they should bring their ear muffs the next time they take her there.
asleep, as clouds scud across
a gibbous moon
(c) Copyright 2016 Angelee Deodhar
Dr. Angelee Deodhar, an eye surgeon by profession as well as a haiku poet, translator, and artist, lives and works in Chandigarh, India.Her haiku, haibun and haiga have been published internationally in various books and journals, and her work can be viewed online too. To promote haiku in India, she has translated six books of haiku from English to Hindi. She has edited both Journeys and Journeys 2015, an Anthology of International Haibun, just released on Amazon, which has a total of 145 haibun by 31 poets of international repute.